Thursday finally came! It was a day for which I had been planning for 5 weeks. It was my wife’s birthday and I had big plans.
Totally surprise my wife and take her off on a two day vacation without the kids.
I had friends who had agreed to keep our kids for two nights. Our son was in on the surprise since he would have to help me conceal a few details. Also, he needed to know what was going on to help avoid any blowups with the baby while we were gone. But he was only fully aware of the surprise 24 hours before.
Since I was not sure how comfortable my wife would feel leaving our kids with our friends, we had to test the water. One week prior to the event we scheduled a double date in which the friends were to help me do some secretive questioning. A personal crisis on their part caused us to move our date to their house. They told us about a trip out of town they took while leaving their kids at home to be cared for by the oldest daughter (18 years old). They had a wonderful time and wondered if my wife would ever be willing to leave our kids with them for a day or two. She said, in her ever present reserved tone, that she would feel comfortable about it.
Heading home that night, she looked at me excitedly and asked, “did you hear them offer to keep the kids while we go out of town?” She was no longer reserved. She was thrilled. And so was I, but for a different reason. I got confirmation that my plans were headed the right direction.
My wife and I had planned to take the kids ice skating in the morning and then we would go to drop the kids off “for lunch.” That was all my wife knew. It was a fun game since the kids didn’t know anything about ice skating, and my wife didn’t know anything about leaving the kids for 2 days.
We were to spend Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon in Valladolid. It is a city (I think the third largest in the state) just under 2 hours from where we live. I had a few activities planned, but mostly just lounge around and read.
In the morning I tried to act as normal as possible. It was not hard. Normal would mean that I still had not bought her the gift I was planning. And it certainly was not wrapped. At least this year I had the gift, but it was still shoved in the bottom of a drawer unwrapped.
She mentioned that she needed to go to the store that morning before ice skating and lunch. That was just what I needed. It gave me a chance to wrap her gift and put the finishing touches on my big plans. While she was gone I found a gift bag from Christmas and re-purposed it. I dropped in the token gifts I had bought the day before. Then I went to the website of the hotel I was whisking her away to and downloaded a few pictures for a printed announcement I was making. With the pictures I added text that read something like “Happy Birthday! A 2 day (kid’s free) trip to a tropical city.”
When she got home from the store, we met her at the door and sang “Happy Birthday!” and gave her the gifts. The final gift was an envelope with the pictures and announcement of a tropical vacation, but she was not allowed to open that. I winked at her and told her that it was one of those kinds of gifts she needed to open in private without the kids around. This (I hope) built suspense throughout the morning. She was instructed to take the envelope with us and I would tell her when she could open it.
Everything went as planned.
We had a good time ice skating. The rink opened just last week. We then took the kids over to our friends’ house. I had been taking clothing and necessary items over there a little at a time for a few days. I could not take too much at once or my wife would have suspected something. When we did take the kids over, we just needed one (really packed) backpack with final items such as toothbrushes and pajamas. I also had to snag some shoes at the last minute. The pack made it into the car and into the friends’ house without any suspicion.
We were off to have lunch. At this point our son knew we weren’t coming back, but our daughter and my wife did not know. Of course the friends knew.
After we ordered our meal, I allowed her to open the envelope. She was thrilled and showed no hesitation. After I told her all the things I had taken over for the kids, she seemed comfortable that I had covered most bases and was ready to head out of town without having to see them. If we had not forgotten to get the telescope we were borrowing from our friends, we would not have gone back at all. We actually got the telescope while parked a few houses away, that way our daughter would not see us.
We got to the hotel and it was a bit rainy. We just sat around and read for a while. We decided that it was a bad night for using the telescope and just walked around the main square–after the rain stopped. We had a cup of coffee and some junk food off a street vendor.
Friday we took a short walk and then went to breakfast. I think we finally got the day going a little after 10:00. We went to a couple of different cenotes (see pictures) and then came back to the room and read some more. Somewhere in there we ate too much pizza for lunch. In the evening we walked to a convenience store for a coffee and some cookies. That was supper.
We grabbed the telescope and stared at the moon for a while. We tried looking at Mars, but it was too close to the moon and straight overhead. Looking at anything in this telescope that was right overhead was hard. So, we just enjoyed the moon until the clouds got too thick.
Back to the main square to see what we could eat off the street vendors. NOTE: Eating from street vendors is not recommended. Proceed at your own risk. Don’t blame me.
This morning we were so energetic that we came back to the room to have a nap after breakfast. We finally picked up the kids in the early afternoon.
Our friends seemed to have had a good time. Our son was tired and ready to go home. They played hard. Our daughter cried that she had to leave as well as a couple of the younger kids of our friends (they have 9 and a bun in the oven).
A very successful weekend. We have not taken too many vacations like this, but each one is special.